Wine and Food

Alexander van Dülmen


Los Angeles

Omoni, Restaurant, Berlin

Omoni, Japanese Restaurant, Berlin, Germany

5,5 points

It’s not exactly news that one can always discover a great new place in Berlin — if one only searches. The press and the internet often outdo each other in reviewing the latest restaurants and bars, so I should probably refrain from writing about Berlin’s restaurants if I’m looking to get any attention with this blog. But since this is not my motivation in writing, I of course will continue to write about what I want, including interesting or less interesting places, also those in Berlin. And if I look at the stats of my blog, it always surprises me to see which articles are read more and which less. I don’t really see any particular logic behind it, since there aren’t subjects that would seem to connect the interest of the readers. So, it isn’t that the reports about wine necessarily have more readers than reviews about restaurants. If the place is rather unknown or not many people wrote about it before or posted about it on any social network, then it happens that my review appears among top 5 in google or other search engines. But again, this doesn’t mean so much, since my handful of reviews of Bordeaux wines are all pretty popular, although many reviewers have written about these same wines. The good thing about this realization is that you can just write about anything and if you do that — and make it entertaining enough, hopefully — you will find one reader or another. As said, I’d like to continue writing only about my personal and, thus, of course, subjective experiences and insights.


Unfortunately, I think there’s not much good sushi in Berlin. This is probably for a variety of reasons. Since there is not really a Japanese community in Berlin (I have heard there is only one of a considerable size in Düsseldorf), so the demand for “real” Japanese cuisine is limited. Another reason is the lack of fresh fish – of course there is salmon, tuna and shrimp, but quite seldom would you come across the kinds of fish that you can find easily at any Sushi restaurant in NY, LA or even in Moscow. Last but not least, usually Japanese food is expensive. And expensive food does not fit in Berlin somehow, in particular if you are running a cool place like Omoni.

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Melisse, Restaurant, Santa Monica

Melisse, Restaurant, Santa Monica, USA

7 points

Let me begin with perhaps an unfair quote: This restaurant is cursedly expensive. This is quite a controversial statement since passionate chefs, engaged restaurant entrepreneurs, and audacious sommeliers all have to calculate very carefully: top quality, super fresh, preferably organic vegetables, fish, seafood, meat and other ingredients, and exotic or rare fruits. Regional does not automatically mean less expensive, since the work and desire of farmers, fishermen, and cultivators is the same almost everywhere on the planet. Raising organic shrimp in Vietnam is probably cheaper than in Louisiana – but causes pollution due to long transport distances. And how many hours does a chef spend just on thinking, testing, and creating a new dish? And to what end? Isn’t it well known that salaries in the field of gastronomy are rather low? In the US, tips are a crucial part of the income of any server.

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Providence, Restaurant, Los Angeles

Providence, Restaurant, Los Angeles, USA

7 points

Simply put: this is the best restaurant I’ve encountered so far in Los Angeles. How many years have I been coming to Los Angeles and eating bad or what I’d call just decent food? Even when friends have invited me out somewhere – and of course they always mean very well – they’ve brought me to loud either show-offy event places or simply to uninspiring restaurants.


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ink., Restaurant, Los Angeles

ink., Restaurant, Los Angeles, USA

6,5 points

There it is! A really scrumptious restaurant in Los Angeles! It is called Ink and located at Melrose.

To begin with the only but substantial concern: the acoustics of the dining room is horrorable. It isn’t something new that a restaurant in USA usually is much louder than a restaurant in Europe, but it really can kill atmosphere and flair of a place which offers so delicious and inspiring food as ink. I needed to become an expert in reading lips to understand what my counterpart told me while we spent some hours some weeks ago at Melrose Ave. I would prefer reading on lips the experience of good food than the content of my conversation since it would be totally understandable that visitors of ink smack one’s lips because of the exceptional taste experience.

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Chamberlain Suite Hotel, West Hollywood, Los Angeles

Chamberlain Suite Hotel, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, USA

6 points

Every person has its favored hotel in a town where one goes several times or regularly. If you go to Los Angeles either as a tourist or for business you perhaps like to be located rather in a center of a circle of destination than perhaps somewhere at the edge.

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Hinoki & The Bird, Restaurant, Century City, Los Angeles, USA

Hinoki & The Bird, Restaurant, Century City, Los Angeles, USA

4 points

Yes, there are good, nice and interesting restaurants in Los Angeles. Most of the better places which I know are conceptually offering rather fusions of different cuisines, pretty modern and experimental combinations. It is somehow funny that you can experience much more radicalism testing restaurants than discussing philosophical or political themes with people from Los Angeles. Either restaurants are just real American – most of them then are better steak houses and very much meat driven – or they are young, inspired and of course trend following: if a steak could be green, those places would be the first ones offering it.

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RivaBella, Restaurant, Los Angeles, USA

RivaBella, Italian Restaurant, Los Angeles, USA

0,5 points

What a dreary and uninspired restaurant. I guess all the food here tastes the same, having no particular or distinguishing flavors, but is in an American way “rich” which in the most of the cases means that it is just heavy. Although the waiter was “so” nice, I could have selected any dish it would have been an excellent choice, if not the best of the night. Don’t be foolish enough to ask him about anything as he – honestly a really nice guy – would probably never have had a chance to taste any of the dishes he’s serving.

The place isn’t inviting and just shamefully expensive considering your experience. Any pasta dish is not below $20.00! Main courses are all at least $40.00!

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